New Freedoms for Missouri Government Workers

Posted by Olivia Grady on Thursday, June 21st, 2018 at 5:23 pm - Permalink

On June 1, 2018, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed Missouri House Bill 1413 into law. The Missouri Senate had passed the bill on May 16 with a vote of 21 to 11, while the Missouri House voted 101 to 42 the next day to pass the bill with Senate Amendments.

The bill first prohibits union dues and agency fees from being withheld from workers’ paychecks without an annual written or electronic authorization from each worker.

The bill also forbids labor unions from using dues or agency fees on politics without the written or electronic annual consent of its members and nonmember public employees. These rights cannot be waived, and labor unions are forbidden from increasing the dues of government employees who don’t authorize these political contributions.

Missouri H.B. 1413 also protects workers by changing the union certification rules.

For initial certification of a labor union as a representative of workers, more than 50% of the eligible voters must vote for the labor organization. In the past, the union only needed to win a majority of the voters, even if not many workers voted. Missouri H.B. 1413 further requires a recertification election every three years.

In addition, labor unions must keep financial records that are searchable online for every public employee they represent and file them with the department. A public employee may sue if the records are not maintained. Further, labor organizations must adopt a constitution and bylaws and file these with the department, along with a report giving the name and address of the union, the names and titles of its officers, the membership fees, the regular dues, among other information.

A number of the laws relating to collective bargaining were changed as well. For example, labor organizations now have to meet with the public employer’s designated bargaining representatives. A union also can’t force the public employer’s bargaining representative to be replaced.

In addition, the meetings between the government and a labor union will now be public meetings unless the meetings are part of the public employer’s internal planning and strategy process. Bargaining proposals are now public too.

As a result, these workers will now be able to decide whether their union dues and agency fees are deducted automatically from their paycheck and whether their dues can be spent on politics. A small percentage of a possible bargaining unit won’t be able to unionize the entire bargaining unit. Also, no longer will generations of workers be part of a bargaining unit they never had the chance to vote on. Finally, there will be more transparency between the unions, government and workers. Congratulations to the Missouri legislature for protecting Missouri government workers!